Few things say “autumn” to me more clearly than a bite of pumpkin bread on a crisp day. That’s why, for the last fourteen years, I have enjoyed baking up this recipe and sharing it with family and neighbors. As my children have gotten older, they’ve helped with the preparation, and we’ve given the loaves to teachers and bus drivers.
This pumpkin bread is moist and delicious – it gets rave reviews every time. It is best enjoyed with a mug of hot apple cider, a crackling fire, and your favorite hand-knit sweater. That’s an experience worth sharing, don’t you think?
Try to have some fun with the presentation.
Some years I have simply tied a curly ribbon and a gift tag around the loaves, put them in a basket, and delivered them around the neighborhood. Other years I have gone more of a “goodie bag” route, and included a jar of homemade apple butter, a bag of apple cider mulling spices, or a handmade cloth napkin.
This is an activity that has its roots in my childhood. For many years around Christmas Eve, my sister and I would drop off deliveries of our mother’s fresh-baked quickbreads to our elderly neighbors. I was always enamored with the idea, but as an adult, I have rarely had my act together enough to bake bread, let alone deliver it, that close to Christmas.
On the first day of fall with its low level of fanfare, time for baking is in abundance, and gifts are unexpected. This makes it the perfect occasion to indulge in some baking and sharing!
This year, as the lush greenery of summer gives way to vibrant fall foliage, why not start a family tradition of celebrating the change of season? Think about the things that are quintessentially fall to you, bundle them up with a loaf of homemade pumpkin bread, and brighten a friend’s day!
Lisa’s Best Pumpkin Bread
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
3 cups sugar
1/2 cup cooking oil
2 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
1/4 cup water
In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice.
In a separate bowl, mix by hand the sugar, oil, eggs, pumpkin, and water.
Combine with the dry ingredients.
Bake in eight mini loaf pans at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (In my quirky oven, this takes 40 minutes)
Can’t find canned pumpkin? This recipe is nothing if not versatile. Try pureeing any of the other deliciously autumnal fruits and vegetables at your disposal. (Apples, anyone?) Use an equal amount of the puree in place of the pumpkin, and adjust the amount of water as necessary.
If you don’t need eight loaves, use the rest of the batter to make mini muffins, and keep them for snacking. My picky eaters scarf these down enthusiastically. (Reduce baking time to 15 minutes.)
You can also freeze any leftovers for several months. Nothing cheers up a dreary January morning than a moist slice of freshly-defrosted homemade pumpkin bread!
When she’s not baking yummy quickbreads, Lisa Clarke spends a lot of time avoiding the kitchen. She can often be found playing with polymer clay, fabric, yarn & pixels, or hanging around with her long-suffering husband and her fabulous sons. She chronicles her adventures in creativity and everyday life at Polka Dot Cottage .